One of my chief concerns when attempting to decide where I wanted to spend my co-op was how much I would miss out on if I left Boston. Many of my friends would be in classes for the spring and many more were actively planning to co-op in Boston, which meant that their lives would continue on much as they already were. This was a frightening thought given that, when creating my list of jobs, not a single one was in Boston. In fact, only three were within the United States.
I kept many people in the dark about my co-op process, some more than they know, because I didn’t want them to know exactly how actively I was trying to leave; it allowed me to conceal my own fear of missing out on everything that would continue on in my absence. Instead of worrying about what I would be giving up I focused on what I stood to gain- which was everything.
Despite the fact that there was little doubt in my mind that going abroad was the right choice for me even before I made the commitment, it was still daunting.
It’s never easy to leave your life behind- to move away from everyone and everything you know and start over almost from scratch. Even if it is only temporary. At 14 when I traded in my childhood home for boarding school I almost didn’t notice that it had happened. I was terrified, yes, but that fear lasted for about a week before I realized that I was surrounded by people who were experiencing the exact same worries. Soon after, it became apparent that these strangers were much more ‘my people’ than anyone in my hometown ever was.
Four years later I moved to Boston and started all over again. It took a while but with some luck and countless hours spent goofing around I had found my people once again. Fast forward one year and there I was, leaving. Again. Except this time I had a return date which somehow made it more nerve wracking- I had to come back to these people at the end of it. What if I wasn't the same? What if everything changed while I was gone?
I’ll be the first to admit that the fear of missing out has impacted many of my decisions- both large and significant. Now though, after being in Belgrade for several weeks, I no longer have the fear of missing out on everything going on back home; Boston will still be there when I get back. My friends will still be my friends, my dog will still remember me when I stop back home every once in a while. I’m not really missing out on all that much.
Instead, I spend my days doing work that I love in a city that continues to amaze me while surrounded by some pretty great humans. Which is why I’ll also be the first to admit that sometimes missing out on one thing can lead you to something infinitely better.